A man can become infertile due to several reasons including some chronic ailments and the administration of certain drugs; however, one of the reasons for infertility in men is the production of anti sperm antibodies; this is an autoimmune condition much like an allergic reaction. In a man who suffers from this condition, the body gets sensitized to sperms and the immune system develops antibodies because it perceives the sperms to be a threat; these anti bodies are mobilized to destroy the sperms.
Normally, the sperms are protected from the onslaught of the immune system by a barrier in the testicles. However, in men who develop anti sperm anybodies, the immune cells manage to go through the barrier to access the sperms. These sperms have a unique surface made of antigens which makes them easily identifiable to the immune cells. These antibodies detect their presence and trigger a response. The antibodies adhere to the surface of the sperms spoiling their function and quality. How far the effect is felt will depend on the location on the body of the sperm that the antibodies latch on to. For instance, if the antibodies adhere to the tail of the sperm; they are found clumped together due to immobility. On the other hand, if they stick to the head of the sperm; they prevent it from binding with the egg and penetrating its surface and thus prevent fertilization of the eggs.
The development of anti sperm antibodies is a fairly common condition that is observed in almost 10% of men who complain of infertility. One of the primary reasons for the development of sensitivity to the sperms is the cervical mucus found in some ladies. Not all women have this specific type of mucus which triggers an auto immune response in the man’s body leading to the development of the anti sperm antibodies. Almost 40 % of couples who complain of unexplained infertility were found to have this problem.
There are also other factors such as an injury to the testicles or the twisting of the testicular sack that may lead to the production of anti sperm antibodies. Another reason is any infection that may destabilize the immune system. It has been found that many times vasectomy reversal may also cause the condition along with other surgical procedures such as cancer, varicocele, undescended testicles, congenital absence of the vas deferens and testicular biopsy. Almost 70% of the men who have had vasectomy reversal were found to have anti sperm antibodies. The presence of these immune cells can easily be diagnosed through a semen sample; once found the doctor will certainly recommend a cervical test for your partner to find out about the presence of cervical mucus that may be causing the condition.
Once the analysis proves the existence of anti sperm antibodies it may not e easy to treat the condition. For one, it calls for the prescription of high doses of corticosteroids and these can have long standing and often disastrous ramification on your health. However, the therapy can be used to temporarily restore fertility but it is certainly not a permanent solution. Like all other auto immune disorders a cure for this condition eludes medical science and until then prevention is the best cure. Do not get a vasectomy done unless you are absolutely positive about your decision to not have children in future. Vasectomy is a permanent form of contraception and even though it ca be reversed, there may be some complications. If you do decide to go for the reversal procedure, make sure that you get it done as soon as you can after the vasectomy so improve your chances of success after the surgery.
Finally, if you are diagnosed with anti sperm antibodies after your vasectomy reversal procedure, you don’t have to be disheartened; you can still have a child through one of the other fertility treatment such as in vitro fertilization. The antibodies do not have any effect on the success of this procedure because the sperm is washed before the procedure to remove the antibodies so that the eggs can be fertilized properly. The same procedure; that is the washing of the sperm may also be used in another procedure known as intrauterine insemination in which the sperm is injected into the uterus..